INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana officials insisted Thursday that residents obey the state’s stay-at-home order to rein in the coronavirus spread and not take advantage of its travel and work exemptions.

Those appeals came as Indiana’s death toll from the pandemic rose three to 17, with new deaths reported from the rural counties of Jasper, Putnam and Franklin. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state grew by 170 to 645, the Indiana State Department of Health reported Thursday.

Two more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Elkhart County, bringing the local total to seven.

Neighboring St. Joseph County reported its first coronavirus death, a man in his 80s with underlying medical issues, health officials announced later Thursday. The man died Monday but the hospital treating him had to wait 10 days for test results to come back to confirm the death was related to the virus.

A total of 4,651 tests have been reported to ISDH to date, up from 3,356 on Wednesday.

The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb took effect Wednesday. The order has exceptions for workers in essential businesses or for necessary trips for food and medicine, but largely leaves it to individuals and many businesses to decide whether they are exempt.

Holcomb said Thursday the exemptions were “not encouragement to break the rules” and that the state has seen great declines in traffic and business activity.

“It’s all in an effort to get through this so that 100 percent can go back to work, not just the essential companies or the businesses that can conduct their business in a responsible manner,” Holcomb said.

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said he was looking into reports of people being stopped by police officers questioning why they were on the roads. Carter said police departments have been directed to not require proof from people while the stay-at-home order is in place.

“Our communities have seen a significant decrease in movement – it’s working,” Carter said. “But there is no need for you to carry a document with you, nor can law enforcement officers stop you simply to say, ‘What are you doing out here?’”

The Indianapolis 500 on Thursday joined a long list of sporting events postponed by the coronavirus.

Motorsports giant Roger Penske, who finalized his purchase of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year, announced that the Indianapolis 500 will take place Aug. 23, not May 24, meaning the race won’t run on the Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.

Indiana National Guard members meanwhile began distributing medical supplies to hospitals and county health departments, escorted by state police cruisers. Federal sources sent several truckloads of items to the state health department this week such as masks, face shields and gowns, said Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner.

Contributing: Elkhart Truth staff

Contributing: Elkhart Truth staff

(15) comments

Sassym20

Can someone tell me where to go to get tested at for Covid-19 in Elkhart?

RasmusSJorgensen Staff
RasmusSJorgensen

If you have symptoms, you should call your own doctor. They will then help determine whether you need to be tested and where you should go. Meanwhile, it is best to stay home.

fire111

give me some counties max ad the info they post. I know lots of people throughout the state. I can get some info!

Grandmaster76

Where are the specific infection locales? Who are they, what areas do they frequent, and where do they work?

None of your business. Treat EVERY area you are required to be as if it was the CovID19 epicenter. That’s the only responsible COA. If a report of an infection means you would not go to that place, then you shouldn’t be going anywhere at all. Establishing personal degrees of anti-infection vigilance based on one public locale or the other simply increases your odds of infection. Carrying around a notion that one place is worse than another increases the likelihood of being lax when you shouldn’t be, and will occur even without your conscious effort. The people crying foul about needing to know location specifics are the ones who need to stay home completely.

Revolution 1776

Privacy laws ,not only do we need a currency reset we need a major law reset

MaxHeadroom

Privacy laws don't apply when there's an imminent risk to public health and safety.

Grandmaster76

That’s patently false. HIPPA exists in good times and in bad. County-level health statistics are not published as a yardstick for you to use in order to determine the appropriate degree of vigilance that best suits your personal apprehension level. They’re published and used as a means to track the infectious course of the virus, as well as to provide indicators for efficient use/deployment of resources. I’m not concerned about the location specifics for reported infections, and neither should you be. Why? Because I treat every place where I’m required to go as if it were a specific infection location. That’s the only responsible course of action. Go only where you’re required, and treat those places as if they were ground zero breeding grounds for CovID9.

MaxHeadroom

So you're saying potential exposures should just be ignored? Your logic goes against what the CDC suggests. Maybe you should be a consultant.

fire111

U didn't read that law very well Maxie. You have NO access to a person HIPPA info unless you are a treating medical professional. The public has no access!

MaxHeadroom

And still no word from Elkhart County officials regarding where these people who tested positive work, frequent, or anything that would help to keep the rest of the public safe. Every other county is providing this information. Why on Earth is Elkhart County and Elkhart General being so secretive?

fire111

Really Max? So you believe everyone testing positive for the Covid 19 virus should be listed as to where they work and hang out. About 650 people have tested positive by Wednesday. When would you like that practice stopped, if it is in effect? At say a 1000, 2000 maybe 5000? Come on!

MaxHeadroom

So why is it every other county in the state is releasing this information? We're no where near the numbers you are speaking about....we're at what? 5? 7? Yes I believe people have a right to know if there is a possibility they have been exposed. You worked thru the AIDS epidemic, you don't remember the dispatchers telling you over the air that your patient had HIV? Why did you need to know that?

Joe King

I agree max, they should at least list where they worked or places they have been while contagious. They may have privately if it was small and localized. But because the Trumps administration failed to take this seriously months ago, we don’t have enough tests for everyone and started too late to try to contain it like other countries. Until the administration has enough tests for everyone to be tested, you have to assume you have it and so does everyone else until it is contained..

Joden

Elkhart isn’t sufficiently testing period! We will never know. That’s a fact.

Emurdock

I agree with that. Why cant I get a test? I even called the health depart in elkhart county ans was told they would reach out to Indianapolis, to whom I never heard from. And this was in December when I thought I hand Hantavirus. I dont need anyones mames but it sure would be nice to know if positive results for covid-19 arw coming out of the place where I work.

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